© GTH & Nathan DePetris

© GTH & Nathan DePetris

One of the most recognizable buildings in the world, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a testament to how a single building can change the face of a city. Bilbao was considered a decrepit port city by the rest of Spain prior to the Frank Gehry designed building’s erection; this all changed once the modern art museum opened.

Four million tourists flooded the city in the museum’s first three years. Dubbed the “Bilbao Effect”, this brought in an additional half a billion euros to the local economy. The capital influx revitalized the city: old warehouses were suddenly chic loft apartments, new restaurants and hotels opened, and even corporations were modernizing their facades or breaking new ground to fit in with the new look of the city.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is always featuring new and ever-changing exhibitions, as only “The Wave of Time” by Serra is on permanent display. Local and international art lovers still visit the museum to view some of the most profound and  influential pieces in the modern art world, but for many it’s the museum building itself that’s the star piece on display. Onlookers often spend hours outside, watching the sunlight move across the titanium panels that cover this architectural gem’s metallic exterior.

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